Genre: Family drama
Cast: Parthiban, Chaya Singh, Anandraj, Karunas
Storyline: Circumstances force Nandita into a marriage she isn’t interested in, but she isn’t going to make things easy for her husband or herself …
Bottomline: Inept treatment midway through the film mars matters.
Without giving in to the demands of formula, ‘Vallamai Thaaraayo’s creator Madhumita goes about her task of presenting a film that rises above commercial gimmicks. But eschewing the format alone cannot make a film watch-worthy. You also need credible characterisation and plausible narration — areas where the maker falters.
Focussed at first, she seems to have developed cold feet midway. How else do you explain the inclusion of Karunas’s insipid comedy track that sticks out like a sore thumb?
A linear narrative would have made ‘Vallamai Thaaraayo’ (U) tauter. Incidentally, the poetic title deserves to be complimented. Dialogue is an impact-making aspect of the film. Many a time it adds pep to a dreary scene.
Different but vague
Anand (Parthiban) and Nandita (Chaya Singh) are newly married. But Nandita is a reluctant bride. She is unable to forget her aunt’s son whom she is in love with. A family feud had separated the two and her unrelenting dad (Anandaraj) gets her married to a groom of his choice. After marriage in their native town, the newly-weds return to the city where the two are employed. Nandita’s stubborn stand makes her seek divorce. She goes ahead and secures it too. But matters don’t end there!
Parthiban as the hero fails to impress because his character lacks depth. As his love for Nandita is not established strongly, you feel little sympathy for him. Chaya Singh scores better, of course, till she begins to wallow in self-pity. The character is confused — so is the viewer.
The heroine goes into a trance every time she sees a billboard with the name Sekar on it! That’s her lover’s name, you see? The expression of love only makes Nandita appear dumber than you think. Madhumita has worked hard to make the climax different. But it ends up being vague. Certain characters are unnatural, certain sequences too.
The most ridiculous role is that of the housemaid, played by Devipriya. Is it so easy for a stranger to walk into a house, inform that she’s available for employment and begin work straightway? Almost at once you see her entering the bedroom, opening Nandita’s wardrobe, sifting through the things in it and even querying her on a pair of trousers she finds there! Presumptuous for the most part, the servant’s actions and Nandita’s reaction (or lack of it) beat reason.
Generally, punch lines are a hero’s domain. Here they have been assigned to Anandaraj and his repetition of dialogue reaches exasperating levels in no time. Composer Bharadwaj hasn’t exerted himself much. The heard-before feel in a couple of numbers dampens your enthusiasm.
Like Mohan in ‘Mouna Ragam,’ Parthiban waits for his wife’s change of heart, in vain. But when he continues to follow his ex-wife everywhere and adopts childish measures to lure her, he irritates both the viewer and Nandita. The dignity and self-respect of Mani Ratnam’s hero is found wanting in Madhumita’s.
The first scene is powerful and makes you sit up for a riveting story. Sadly the fizz dies down soon. More like ‘Mouna Ragam’ rehashed, ‘Vallamai Thaaraayo’ does have its high moments — but they are few and far between.MALATHI RANGARAJAN